By Malibongwe Tokwe
When Loyiso “The Black Messiah” Mtya was a young boy, he did not have to cross the street to know about boxing, his home was the home of the fighters. During the mid-60’s his father Wilson Bill Banguxolo Mtya was responsible to transport the very first Eastern Cape (Mdantsane) professional fighters by his vehicle as a driver. Some of the big names of the fighters he transported are Lawrence Ndzondo (Featherweight), Simon Sali (Welterweight), Stanley Toni (Flyweight) and Alesta Alister Mahashe (Super Lightweight). His father’s responsibility was key in the fighters of those days as the public transportation was scarce and not as reliable. He transported those fighters within the Eastern Cape towns as amateurs, moving them from East London to King Williamstown, Port Elizabeth, Queenstown, Grahamstown and back to East London.
The fighter, The Trainer and The Leader
The family of amaQadi (clan name), Oodosini, Ngqwili, Ngcwina, Ngwenya, OoNondlobe also contributed to the western side of the Eastern Cape, and that is Port Elizabeth, “the Windy City”. Loyiso’s uncle (Tata’Omncinci) Khayalethu Mtya was among the founders of boxing in Port Elizabeth city, he worked as a trainer/promoter with excellent fighters such as Terrence Ace Makaluza, the former Cape Middleweight Champion and Chris Kid Dlamini, the former Cape Non-White Bantamweight champion. The seeds that was planted by Khayalethu eventually produced more boxing world class fighters and champions such as Vuyani Nene, Phumzile Madikane and Mzukisi Sikali.
The very same house had another great fighter in the late 80’s with the name Nyingi Mtya. Nyingi show cased his boxing skills when his school class teacher in amateur rankings was beating up every opponent they were matching him with, he was the class teacher who loved boxing and could not be matched with anyone as they were scared of his abilities in the ring. Nyingi was still a young fighter who was shy to box the teacher because it was an unheard off thing, to fight the man of credentials such as a school teacher. They managed to make the fight happen, and the teacher was beaten so bad he was not willing to go back to school the following week anymore.
Nyingi was a very crafty fighter who won the Cape Super Featherweight Champion Title when he beat Ngcambaza Mbaduli unanimously in Mdantsane Stadium on 1982. He also beat Phumzile Madikane from Port Elizabeth on 1984 in Centenary hall. Some of his notable fights is when he drew with Rodney Botha, defending his Cape Super Featherweight Champion Title and the losses against Nika Khumalo and the legendary Brian Mitchell (HOF) for the South African Super Featherweight Title. A very interesting story.
Lulama Mtya is another one who lifted the torch of aMaqadi even to the greater heights of boxing world. He is the talented boxing referee that can make you miss the boxing action because of his good entertaining moves when referring the fights. I always tell young fighters to learn the smooth charismatic ring moves from Lulama because he really does it so well, and you can tell he got it all from boxing. One thing important when watching Lulama referring the fights on TV is the fact that he never stand in the camera’s view nor unnecessarily disturbing the action when the fight is heated. He engages with the fighters to fight clean as possible and he takes charge when necessary. Lulama’s boxing involvement is so extent that he has worked for top boxing organization such as IBF, IBO and WBO. To name few fights he referred with excellence is the battle between IBF: Vuyani Bungu vs Danny Romero, IBF: Philip Holiday vs Jeff Fenech and IBO: Cassius Baloyi vs Mbulelo Botile. On year 2007 Lulama Mtya was awarded by Boxing South Africa as the referee of the year.
Mount Coke, the small village in the Eastern Cape is where it all started, that is when Loyiso’s Cousin Lukhanyo Mtya bought two sets of boxing gloves and gave to Loyiso to start the amateur boxing club. Since that day he never looked back, his life has been dedicated to the sports of boxing from playing different roles as,
- Amateur Boxer,
- South African Champion,
- Boxing Trainer,
- Boxing Manager,
- Boxing TV commentator,
- Boxing Administrator,
- CEO of Boxing South Africa
Loyiso is the former South African junior middleweight champion, winning vacant junior middleweight non-white title when he stopped Morgan Moledi in Mdantsane on year 1977. He was one of the incredible dangerous southpaw from Mdantsane, arguably the biggest junior middleweight ever in South African boxing, standing at 1.89m tall.
Few names I can highlight he fought is, Gert Steyn, Terrence Ace Makaluza, Joseph Hali, Cameron Adams, Bruce Mclntyre, and Coenie Bekker. His success as a fighter was around his powerful boxing brains, he was excellent in figuring out his opponents. He made them miss, setting them off balance, fainting them to commit in punches and then make them pay with crispy punches from southpaw stance. Loyiso’s focus in boxing could have been destructed easily by the South African political challenges of the past, however he stood tall and went on to chase his dreams. The qualified teacher by profession used his academic skills to communicate effectively as a trainer, and get the best out of his students (fighters).
His success as a boxing trainer has been mysterious, he trained great fighters such as Mxhosana “Tshawe” Jongilanga, Odwa “Old Bones” Mdleleni, Khulile Makeba, Mthobeli “The Hitman” Mhlophe and the current world champion Zolani “Last Born” Tete. These are only few names he trained, there are many other fighters he assisted as a trainer manager.
Let me take you back to the battle that happened in Mdantsane Stadium on 1987 when Loyiso’s fighter Mxhosana “Tshawe” Jongilanga (Champion) squared with Zweni “Sugar Cane” Ngcongolo (Challenger) for the South African featherweight title. I am privileged to be among the few that has the recording of the fight, and I can tell you now, it deserves to be listed in top 10 of the all-time great battles. The competition in the fight was unbelievable, to the level that, all the way to the beginning of round six, the fight was still absolutely up for grabs, it was dead even and both fighters showed determination to leave the ring as champions. You had the tall Sugar Cane Ngcongolo with a Mohawk haircut throwing powerful long range punches to the calculating counterpunching Jongilanga, who also posed with a big afro hairstyle that was in fashion in those days. At some point you would bet that Jongilanga was overwhelmed by the rhythm of the punches of sugar cane, with a huge following of fans hailing him as “Izulu Liyagungqa” because of hard punches he could throw.
Just like Albert Einstein quote “In the mist of difficulty, the wise man will always find the opportunity”, Loyiso gave Mxhosana clear instructions to fight in angles and by round seven the fight was over, the opportunity was indeed found by the short right cross and the Sugar Cane was down, few seconds later, he tried to stand up to his feet and off he went down again, hence the fight was called off. Mxhosana Jongilanga was the winner that night simply because he was instructed by the genius of the game.
Ladies and gentlemen allow Maliboxing to pay tribute to Mr Loyiso “The Black Messiah” Mtya and his family for their great contribution to the South African boxing. They are indeed a family with a purpose, hence we are honoured to write this piece.
We would like to thank you Champ for all the sacrifices you made as a fighter and a trainer, thank you for the great champions you produced and managed, and last but not least we thank you for the TV insightful call of fights on the ringside. Maliboxing acknowledges the work you did as the CEO of Boxing South Africa, and absolutely wish you all the best with all the fighters you work with.
I would like to inform you that we were excited to see you back in the corner of Zolani Tete when he defended his WBO title against Omar Andres Narvaez in Belfast. Zolani is one of the top fighters in the world rooting from the South African soil. It was good to see him not losing composure when his opponent was being too much defensive. Umzingisi Akanashwa, great champions possesses patience, and Zolani did just that and won all the rounds. Congratulations to all of you.
Enjoy Loyiso Mtya Interview